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Rare Exports A Christmas Tale
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Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Starring Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila and Peeter Jakobi
Written and Directed by Jalmari Helander

IN SHORT: A Santa tale turned upside down. [Rated R. 84 minutes]

The Press Release says: "Coming to theatres soon after winning over audiences at the 2010 Locarno and Toronto Film Festivals, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a re-imagining of the most classic of all childhood fantasies, and a darkly comic gem destined for cult status." Who are we to disagree with a newspaper?

For all those who thought that Santa Claus was a myth, a Coca-Cola creation designed to bring mirth and merriment to the dregs of the Winter season comes Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale of the real Santa (Peeter Jakobi), accidentally unearthed by archaeologists in Finland. Being close to Christmas time, Ye olde Saint Nick proceeds to collect -- meaning kidnap -- all the children of the town, with the help of dozens of elves that look suspiciously like the aforementioned Coca-Cola image.

It is up to young Pietari (Onni Tommila) and his father Rauno (Jorma Tommila) to save the children, capture the elves and put Santa back in his place. That place would be a 65 foot long hole, dug 486 meters below Finnish turf, that has served as Santa's "prison" for many years. Rauno is a reindeer hunter by trade but this year's hunt has been lousy, except for capturing Santa. So Rauno decides to sell the icon to the highest corporate bidder.

Frankly, we wouldn't be covering this film since foreign language material moves no traffic on the site. But the ideas in Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale are so off the wall that we planted and spent two hours reading subtitles. Most of the time that would be sufficient but what we got out of this film was the nagging desire to have spent more time actually watching the thing. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is one of the very few foreign films that should have been properly dubbed into English, not subtitled. That's just yours Cranky but there is a terrifically warped movie inside of this film. One that might be remade in English one day. Or maybe properly dubbed for next year. All that reading, though, is flat out distracting.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, he would have paid . . .


Wait and rent. You'll need a couple of sittings to get past the subtitles and enjoy the film as a whole. And you will

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.